Media colleagues pay tribute to the late Ingrid Brown
Tributes continued to pour in yesterday in honour of the late Jamaica Observer Associate Editor Ingrid Brown, whose work over the years had won her numerous awards and the respect of her colleagues in the profession and the wider society.
The 39-year-old journalist died Thursday night at the University Hospital of the West Indies, where she was being treated for an autoimmune condition that affected her liver. She started her journalism career in 1994 at the now defunct Jamaica Herald, and then moved on to The Gleaner and The STAR newspapers, where she worked from 1997-2000.
Brown joined the staff at the Jamaica Observer in 2006 after working for some time at the Jamaica Information Service as a reporter. She also served as a secretary for the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) from 2012 to 2014 and has been described by the association as a sweet and wonderful person.
"In this year in which the media fraternity has suffered loss after loss, Ingrid's passing is yet another blow, yet another loss of an outstanding colleague and human being," the association said yesterday in a media advisory.
The association noted that her work ethic was beyond question and this was evident in a presentation she gave in 2011 when she spoke at the World Press Association's Freedom Day breakfast. Brown, at the time, pleaded with her colleagues in the profession to carry out their duties with intelligence, objectivity, accuracy and fairness.
"More important than having that front-page story or that leading item in the newscast is the commitment to ensure that the information being disseminated is accurate, true and fair to all parties concerned," she said.
"Never let us, as journalists, contribute to disseminating information which, while making juicy and, as some of my colleagues say, 'sexy' stories, will damage someone's reputation and that of family before ensuring that we have the facts," she urged.
Former president of the PAJ Jenni Campbell, who also worked with Brown during her time at The Gleaner, remembers her passion for issues affecting children and those who are most vulnerable.
"She was one of the hardest working journalists I have ever known. She was determined to excel regardless of how tough the task was," she recalled.
"She was a great human-interest writer, and I think the profession is going to be worse off for not having someone like Ingrid Brown doing the kind of stories that she usually does. It really is a very, very sad loss," she said.
Executive Editor for Publications at the Jamaica Observer Vernon Davidson noted that several of Brown's human-interest features had resulted in people getting well-needed help.
"What struck me most about Ingrid was the fact that she saw her journalism as something to use to help people. Rather than just reporting news, she truly believed that she should help people, and she enjoyed doing it," he said.
One of Brown's stories that stood out to him was that of a boy in St Thomas who was going to school hungry and barefooted. After his situation was brought to light, the little boy and his family got a house, money and school supplies from corporate Jamaicans.
"That was the type of journalism that she practised, almost a sort of development type of journalism. Outside of that, she was just a wonderful person," he said.
Brown won the PAJ Award for Best Feature Story in 2008 and Best News Story for 2010. She also won awards from the Pan American Health Organization and the Fair Play Awards. She had recently completed her law degree at the University of the West Indies and was accepted at the Norman Manley Law School in furtherance of her bid to help those who are less fortunate.
The former journalist is survived by her two sons, mother, father, siblings, other relatives and friends.